Larger completion jobs are the order of the day for Williston Basin pure-play operator Oasis Petroleum Inc., which plans to continue testing different completion techniques and use more sand in a bid to grow production over the next two years.

The Houston-based company said it plans to use an average of 10 million pounds of sand, or 1,000 pounds per lateral foot, for each well completed in 2017. The stage count per completion will also increase from 36 to 50. Oasis also plans to test even higher frack jobs, including those requiring 20 and 30 million pounds of sand, over the course of the year.

During a conference call Thursday to discuss 4Q2016, COO Taylor Reid said a 10 million-pound frack job would cost about $6.5 million, compared to $5.5 million for a 4 million-pound job, which it performs currently. But he added that Oasis is still early in its latest generation of completion techniques.

“As a result, our knowledge base will continue to evolve and we will adjust stimulation accordingly,” Reid said. “But we feel the results keep getting better, and the economics suggest that the larger jobs are justified since productivity in the EURs [estimated ultimate recovery] is at least 25% higher.

“We’re excited about the response to larger sand loadings that we have seen in the core, and we’re equally excited for the prospects as you work outside the core. [But] keep in mind that all of our inventory and EURs are based on formally accounted frack jobs at this point. We believe that as we begin to test larger jobs and areas outside of the core, we will be able to further improve the economics and expand the core area.”

With the larger completions, Oasis estimates that it will grow its production volumes by 16% and exit 2017 at a rate of 72,000 boe/d. That would be followed by another year/year increase of more than 15%, leading to production of 83,000 boe/d by the end of 2018. Production averaged 62,000 boe/d at the end of 2016. The company issued production guidance of 65,500-70,500 boe/d for the full-year 2017.

Oasis said it plans to spend $605 million on capex in 2017, compared to $400 million it had planned to spend in 2016. The budget includes $410 million for drilling and completion costs, which the company will use to complete 76 gross (51.7 net) wells during the year. Another $110 million will help Oasis Midstream Services focus on gathering systems in the Wild Basin, part of the Bakken Shale, and to connect wells that come online outside the basin. The remaining $85 million will cover Oasis Well Services, administrative costs and $15 million of capitalized interest.

The company plans to add two rigs to the two already deployed in the Wild Basin by mid-2017, focusing on the core. Oasis will exit 2017 with four rigs, but will add a fifth in 2018.

During the question-and-answer portion of Thursday’s call, Reid said the two rigs being added in the middle of the year will be split between its Alger and Indian Hills assets in the Williston Basin. One internal frack crew will be used throughout 2017, but a second frack crew will be used intermittently.

In 4Q2016, Oasis brought oil and gas infrastructure in the Wild Basin, including an 80 MMcf/d natural gas processing plant, online in October. The company also closed on its acquisition of 55,000 net acres in the Williston Basin from SM Energy Co. for $765.8 million in December.

Oasis reported a net loss of $54.7 million (minus 25 cents/share) in 4Q2016, compared with net income of $4 million (three cents) in 4Q2015. For the full-year 2016, the company reported a net loss of $243 million (minus $1.32/share), compared to a net loss of $40.2 million (minus 31 cents/share) in 2015.

Total revenues were $218 million in 4Q2016, a 19.7% increase from year-ago revenue of $182.1 million. On a yearly basis, Oasis had total revenues of $704.7 million in 2016, a 10.8% decrease from 2015 ($789.7 million). Although lease operating expenses increased 16.4% between the two fourth quarters — $31.9 million in 4Q2015 and $37.1 million in 4Q2016 — they declined 6.3% between 2015 ($144.5 million) and 2016 ($135.4 million).